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Lesson 4 - Conflict and Crisis - the Judges

Overall Question:  How do the people mentioned in the lesson fit into the story of the global rebellion against God?

Memory Text: 1 Samuel 2:1 Modern English Version Hannah prayed, saying:  “My heart rejoices in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth is bold against my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.”

 

Sunday – Deborah

Judges 4 New Living Translation 1 After Ehud’s death, the Israelites again did evil in the Lord’s sight. 2 So the Lord turned them over to King Jabin of Hazor, a Canaanite king. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-haggoyim. 3 Sisera, who had 900 iron chariots, ruthlessly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years. Then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help.  4 Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was a prophet who was judging Israel at that time. 5 She would sit under the Palm of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites would go to her for judgment. 6 One day she sent for Barak son of Abinoam, who lived in Kedesh in the land of Naphtali. She said to him, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: Call out 10,000 warriors from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun at Mount Tabor. 7 And I will call out Sisera, commander of Jabin’s army, along with his chariots and warriors, to the Kishon River. There I will give you victory over him.” 8 Barak told her, “I will go, but only if you go with me.” 9 “Very well,” she replied, “I will go with you. But you will receive no honor in this venture, for the Lord’s victory over Sisera will be at the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 At Kedesh, Barak called together the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, and 10,000 warriors went up with him. Deborah also went with him. 11 Now Heber the Kenite, a descendant of Moses’ brother-in-law[a] Hobab, had moved away from the other members of his tribe and pitched his tent by the oak of Zaanannim near Kedesh. 12 When Sisera was told that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 he called for all 900 of his iron chariots and all of his warriors, and they marched from Harosheth-haggoyim to the Kishon River. 14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Get ready! This is the day the Lord will give you victory over Sisera, for the Lord is marching ahead of you.” So Barak led his 10,000 warriors down the slopes of Mount Tabor into battle. 15 When Barak attacked, the Lord threw Sisera and all his chariots and warriors into a panic. Sisera leaped down from his chariot and escaped on foot. 16 Then Barak chased the chariots and the enemy army all the way to Harosheth-haggoyim, killing all of Sisera’s warriors. Not a single one was left alive. 17 Meanwhile, Sisera ran to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because Heber’s family was on friendly terms with King Jabin of Hazor. 18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come into my tent, sir. Come in. Don’t be afraid.” So he went into her tent, and she covered him with a blanket. 19 “Please give me some water,” he said. “I’m thirsty.” So she gave him some milk from a leather bag and covered him again. 20 “Stand at the door of the tent,” he told her. “If anybody comes and asks you if there is anyone here, say no.” 21 But when Sisera fell asleep from exhaustion, Jael quietly crept up to him with a hammer and tent peg in her hand. Then she drove the tent peg through his temple and into the ground, and so he died. 22 When Barak came looking for Sisera, Jael went out to meet him. She said, “Come, and I will show you the man you are looking for.” So he followed her into the tent and found Sisera lying there dead, with the tent peg through his temple. 23 So on that day Israel saw God defeat Jabin, the Canaanite king. 24 And from that time on Israel became stronger and stronger against King Jabin until they finally destroyed him.

 

Monday – Gideon

Judges 6:1 New Century Version Again the Israelites did what the Lord said was wrong. So for seven years the Lord handed them over to Midian.

Judges 6:10 New Century Version Then I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God. Live in the land of the Amorites, but do not worship their gods.’ But you did not obey me.”

Judges 6:12-16 New English Translation 12 The Lord’s messenger appeared and said to him, “The Lord is with you, courageous warrior!” 13 Gideon said to him, “Pardon me, but if the Lord is with us, why has such disaster overtaken us? Where are all his miraculous deeds our ancestors told us about? They said, ‘Did the Lord not bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to Midian.” 14 Then the Lord himself turned to him and said, “You have the strength. Deliver Israel from the power of the Midianites! Have I not sent you?” 15 Gideon said to him, “But Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Just look! My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my family.” 16 The Lord said to him, “Ah, but I will be with you! You will strike down the whole Midianite army.”

Judges 6:15 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY Literally, then, the passage may read, “my family is the weak one,” that is, of all the families of the tribe. Repeatedly we find a similar humility and diffidence in those whom God calls to His service…The least. Gideon probably meant that he was the youngest son in the family, and doubted that it would be prudent for him to assume leadership in the expedition above older brothers or others.

Judges 6:7-10 New English Translation 7 When the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help because of Midian, 8 he sent a prophet to the Israelites. He said to them, “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I brought you up from Egypt and took you out of that place of slavery. 9 I rescued you from Egypt’s power and from the power of all who oppressed you. I drove them out before you and gave their land to you. 10 I said to you, “I am the Lord your God! Do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are now living!” But you have disobeyed me.’”

 

Tuesday – Samson

Judges 14:1-4 New Life Version Samson went down to Timnah. There he saw a woman, one of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 He returned and told his father and mother, “I saw a woman in Timnah. She is one of the daughters of the Philistines. Now get her for me as a wife.” 3 But his father and mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your family or among all our people? Must you take a wife from the Philistines who have not gone through the religious act of the Jews?” Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she looks good to me.” 4 His father and mother did not know that it was the Lord’s leading. For He was planning a way to go against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.

Judges 14:4 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY Of the Lord. Even in this unfortunate marriage God was overruling the course of events for the furtherance of His own designs. He makes even the weakness and poor judgment of men to redound to His praise…An occasion. Literally, “a meeting,” that is, perhaps an opportunity to provoke hostilities. It may be that Samson had neglected to take up his life assignment when the proper time came, and some event was needed to stir him to activity. God used the incidents connected with the marriage as the “occasion.”

Hebrews 11:32 New Life Version What more should I say? There is not enough time to tell of Gideon and of Barak and of Samson and of Jephthah and of David and of Samuel and of the early preachers.

 

Wednesday – Ruth

Ruth 1:8 New International Reader’s Version Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Both of you go back. Each of you go to your own mother’s home. You were kind to your husbands, who have died. You have also been kind to me. So may the Lord be just as kind to you.

Ruth 1:16-17 New International Reader’s Version 16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t try to make me leave you and go back. Where you go I’ll go. Where you stay I’ll stay. Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God. 17 Where you die I’ll die. And there my body will be buried. I won’t let even death separate you from me. If I do, may the Lord punish me greatly.”

Ruth 1:16 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY Intreat me not. These words introduce Ruth’s decisive answer to Naomi’s suggestion that she follow Orpah’s example, and return to her own people. Ruth’s answer is the keynote of the whole book. It is not merely that Ruth’s love for her mother-in-law leads her to cleave to Naomi. Ruth has discovered that it is Naomi’s faith that makes her a wonderful woman. Ruth resolutely makes her decision for the true God: “Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” No more sublime affirmation of love and devotion is to be found anywhere.

 

Thursday – Samuel

1 Samuel 2:12-25 Common English Bible 12 Now Eli’s sons were despicable men who didn’t know the Lord. 13 This was how the priest was supposed to act with the people: Whenever anyone made a sacrifice, while the meat was boiling, the priest’s assistant would come with a three-pronged fork in hand. 14 He would thrust it into the cauldron or the pot. Whatever the fork brought up, the priest would take for himself. This is how it was done for all the Israelites who came to Shiloh. 15 But with Eli’s sons, even before the fat was burned, the priest’s assistant would come and say to the person offering the sacrifice, “Give the priest some meat to roast. He won’t accept boiled meat from you.” 16 If anyone said, “Let the fat be burned off first, as usual, then take whatever you like for yourself,” the assistant would reply, “No, hand it over now. If not, I’ll take it by force.” 17 The sin of these priestly assistants was very serious in the Lord’s sight because they were disrespecting the Lord’s own offering.  18 Now Samuel was serving the Lord. He was a young boy, clothed in a linen priestly vest. 19 His mother would make a small robe for him and take it to him every year when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. 20 Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife: “May the Lord replace[e] the child of this woman that you gave back to the Lord.” Then they would return home. 21 The Lord paid attention to Hannah, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the Lord’s service. 22 Eli was very old, but he heard everything his sons were doing to the Israelites, and how they had sex with the women who served at the meeting tent’s entrance. 23 Eli said to his sons, “Why are you doing these terrible things that I’m hearing about from everybody? 24 No, my sons. Don’t do this. The report I hear spreading among God’s people isn’t good. 25 If someone sins against someone else, God can intercede; but if someone sins against the Lord, who will intercede then?” But they wouldn’t obey their father because the Lord wanted to kill them.

Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 36 – “We cannot know how much we owe to Christ for the peace and protection which we enjoy. It is the restraining power of God that prevents mankind from passing fully under the control of Satan. The disobedient and unthankful have great reason for gratitude for God’s mercy and long-suffering in holding in check the cruel, malignant power of the evil one. But when men pass the limits of divine forbearance, that restraint is removed. God does not stand toward the sinner as an executioner of the sentence against transgression; but He leaves the rejectors of His mercy to themselves, to reap that which they have sown.”

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